The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, Inc., Friday announced the donation of 13 autographed team footballs from longtime fan John Spalding. The balls are from various teams from the 1972 through 1985 seasons.
Included in the donation are autographed balls from the 1972 Central Division championship team and the 1982 playoff team. Some of the players and coaches with signatures on the balls include Bart Starr, James Lofton, Lynn Dickey, Paul Coffman and John Brockington.
"It's a wonderful addition to our archives," said Hall of Fame Director and Archivist Tom Murphy. "We really didn't have much in our collection from those teams. Some of the teams from that era weren't necessarily great teams, but certainly there were some outstanding players. It's great to have some autographed memorabilia to represent the exciting moments from those times.
"The balls are all in great condition and we're very appreciative of John's donation to the Hall."
Spalding was a longtime gameday sideline assistant for the team, charting participation stats during the game for the coaching staff from the mid-60s until the mid-80s when the practice was eventually replaced by the process of reviewing game film for such information. He received the balls during those years of association with the team.
"We thought it would be a good idea to share them with other Packers fans rather than just having them stored at the house," said Spalding. "I collected them over the years and figured the Packers Hall of Fame would be the best place to keep them."
Some of the balls are currently on display in the Hall of Fame in a temporary case, and eventually will be included in appropriate areas of the permanent displays.
*The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, Inc., is a non-profit corporation independent of the Green Bay Packers that guides the Hall as a historic national sports venue and educational resource to the Green Bay community and the state of Wisconsin. The Hall raises funds through its annual induction banquet, Golf Classic and other events to develop new exhibits and expand its archives. Historic memorabilia donated by individuals to the Hall may qualify as tax-deductible gifts.
Originally established in 1967 as a temporary display in the concourse of the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena, the Hall moved into its own facility in 1976 near Lambeau Field. In 2003, it was relocated to a spectacular new, 25,000-square foot facility in the Lambeau Field Atrium. The Hall of Fame is open on non-game days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours may vary on game days and holidays. For more information, contact the Hall of Fame at 920/569-7512, or visit the Hall online at www.packershalloffame.org.*